tv MSNBC News Live MSNBC August 18, 2010 10:00am-11:00am EDT
wasted and wants to spend tens of thousands of taxpayer money to keep purseicating me and persecuting my family. >> a single jury holdout. mistrial on the rest. i'll talk with the jury foreman for rod blagojevich. a mother slaps her crying baby in midair. did the flight attendant step into a volatile situation? the minnesota vikings want brett favre back for his 20th season and they're willing to pay big time. meet the death defying pilot who escaped this death defying crash with just seconds to spare. i'm chris jansing live from msnbc world headquarters in new york. we begin with breaking news right now on msnbc, a 13-year-old girl is missing in los angeles and it's looking like another cautionary tale for teens and parents everywhere. police believe this girl careana
valencia met up with a man she met through myspace. careana is 5'3", weighs just 90 pounds and, as you can see, she has long brown hair and brown eyes. we're working to get more on this story. call lapd if you have any information about her. we'll follow this story throughout the day right here on msnbc. it was a single holdout juror that made the difference in the corruption trial of former illinois governor rod blagojevich. blago was convicted on just one of 24 charges. on several of the more serious charges, jurors said they were split 11-1. the guilty verdict lying to fbi agents. the judge declared a mistrial for the rest and despite reportedly spending $10 million on the case, the prosecution says they'll try him again. blago is already playing the victim, saying he's being persecuted. >> we have police officers who are being gunned down on the streets, we have children who can't play in front of their homes in the summertime because
they might get gunned down and we have a prosecutor who is wasted and wants to spend tens of millions of dollars to taxpayer money to keep persecuting me, persecuting my family and take my home away from us. >> nbc news correspondent john yang is in chicago and, john, what struck me in hearing comments from both sides afterwards, how high emotions remain. what happens next? >> well, what happens next is they're going to set a hearing, there will be a hearing next week to set the date for that retrial. and as you point out, it's just like two political campaigns spinning an election result. here the prosecution saying it is full steam ahead and they're going to retry them and they're confident about retrying them. you hear him almost taunting the prosecutor, patrick fitzgerald who gained national fame when he prosecuted cheney's chief of staff, scooter libby and the
case exposed cia agent valerie blame. >> this guy is going wild. this guy is nuts. he doesn't indict people for crimes and then prove it. he didn't prove it against scooter libby and he can't prove it against rod blagojevich. >> you know, chris, not just the 11-1 verdict on so many of the counts, there was actually one count, wire fraud involving extortion on rahm emanuel in which the jury has agreed to convict rod blagojevich last week. but monday they reexamined some testimony and a jury changed position. so, this is a lot closer than blagojevich team likes to say it is, chris. >> all right, john yang, thank you so much. now, what exactly did go on in that jury room for 14 days? i spoke to the jury foreman and he told me the witnesses were
often the weak link and the infamous audiotapes, while persuasi persuasive, weren't always conclusive. >> they never said anything outright. it was always coached in words that could mean one thing but meant another thing. so, it was very difficult to follow at times. but if you looked at the whole, you could see with a logical inference on what was happening. >> we'll have the full interview later in the show, but, first, joining me lynn sweet, washington bureau chief for "chicago sun-times" and gil soefer is a former federal prosecutor. good morning to both of you. >> good morning. >> the jury says that there is no smoking gun, gill, i'm just wondering, would you retry this case? >> i would retry this case and there's really much that the government has to be optimistic about. we heard that the deadlock may
have been 11-1 on the more serious charges. that's very promising for the government. if all you're curtending with, the odds are in your favor in a retrial. >> we clearly hear, lynn, the defense is setting up this case. they tried us, they couldn't convict us and we're talking about millions of dollars. these are tough economic times and a lot else going on in chicago where that money could be better spent. do you think that will resonate at all? >> not with patrick fitzgerald. not as if he has money that, he's running a big office. he has three sources to deploy as he wants. it doesn't mean what the defense lawyers say that he will redeploy the money to deal with the horrible situation of shootings in the street, that doesn't matter. the other thing that would be very different in a retrial is that you would take out the campaign finance charges, which is at the heart of the mind to an fbi agent. so, you'll have a little bit of
a different, more classic extortion trial going on, the selling of the senate seat charges, i think, could be explained a lot better and a lot simpler. those tapes why they're kind of cool to have, i don't think they were as persuasive as perhaps the prosecutors thought. so, there is so much opportunity to refigure the case on both sides and the prosecution cut short its case, chris, because they thought they had said all that was to be said and the defense didn't put on any defense. we also have to figure out if the robert blagojevich team will have for a separate trial and maybe he would plead just to get this over with. so many scenarios out there which makes this whole traveling tailgate story taking us into more months ahead.
>> you talk about those audiotapes. i want to play a little clip, again, the conversation is about the senate seat that was vacated by barack obama. listen. >> if they treat me without, you know, any real, they don't have any great interest in the senate seat and they're not gonna offer anything of value, then i might as well take it. >> when i talk to that jury foreman, i said, what advice would you have for the prosecutors? he said i would simplify this case and focus on those counts most directly related to the alleged selling of that senate seat. does that make good sense to you? >> well, it makes sense to streamline the evidence and to streamline the counts because, for example, just looking at one of the charges, the heaviest of the charges, it retquired three pages of a jury form just to capture that charge.
that is too complicated. whether the focus should be on the senate seat, i'm not so sure about that. in several was that is the trickiest of the charges. didn't ultimately come to pass and one thing we heard from this jury and it makes sense, they had trouble convicting when they didn't see that anything happened. they are looking for the criminal act to be consummated and the senate count falls into that category. it could be tougher to convict in those circumstances. >> that senate seat charge, as sensational as it was and it was explosive was always the weakest, the weakest potential charge compared to the other very serious charges against blagojevich dealing with bribery and extortion. pure shakedowns and pure trading government contracts and grants for political positions or campaign cash. this was always the hardest one. patrick fit fitzgerald to stop the crime in progress and he might be second guessing if he
stopped too soon, but he probably did the right thing if you knew something bad was going to happen to stop it. to convince 12 people on a jury that a crime was committed as opposed to showing what a fool in some ways that blagojevich was. to even think he had a shot at the cabinet was so out of touch with reality, chris, you could only wonder what else was going on in his head. >> it will be interesting to see, because that is really what he focused on, the lead juror. so, much more to come. >> oh, he did. >> lynn sweet, gil soffer, thanks to both of you. >> and thank you. >> thank you. one week after that a on-air tirade in which she used the n-word 11 times, dr. laura schlesinger has resigned.
she told larry king she believes her freedom of speech has been trapled on by "an angry mob." she added that she's quitting again, because i'm quoting here. i want to be able to say what's on my mind and in my heart and what i think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry or some special interest group deciding this is the time to silence a voice of dessent. the secret service questioned the pilot of a small plane that wandered into restricted air space during president obama's visit. two fighter jets set off sonic booms as they rushed to the scene and that sent shockwaves through the town of longview below. breaking news "usa today" reporting that developers of that mosque near ground zero have rejected an offer from new york governor david paterson to help them find a different site for the center. the governor had hoped to discuss the matter with the developers this week. meantime, the "huffington post"
is shedding light on the muslim leader behind the controversial plan. "a radical muslim and militant islamist in part for saying t t that." he helped the fbi host a forum on counterterrorism where he said islamic extremism for the majority of muslims is a "fundamental contradiction in terms." president obama's economy tour rolls on with a new stump speech today. the president is facing fierce criticism from some folks in his own party that he's losing control of his message. what does he do to turn things around? plus, it looks like brett favre will be back for the 20th season. will he make it official today? and how much money is he going to make? to the problem was to go ahead and wear hats. i was always the hat guy. i can't even tell you how much it's changed my life. [ male announcer ] only rogaine is proven to regrow hair in 85% of guys.
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it's tough to see the white house through all the rain. heavy rain, in fact that is wreaking havoc on the morning commute. that whole region, take a look at that storm tracker map. firefighters and swift water teams are reportedly plucking stranded motorists from their cars as a lot of roads are flooded in the nation's capital. some people were rescued after sitting on the hoods of their cars. we'll keep our eye on that developing situation. facing a barrage of new criticism for going off message by weighing into the new york city mosque debate, president obama tries to focus on the economy once again today in ohio. he is scheduled to make remarks in about a half an hour from now. the latest associated press poll gives his approval 41% approve and 56% disapprove.
chuck todd is traveling with the president, he is in the beautiful state of ohio in the capital of columbus. chuck, is the president worried about numbers like this and how does this trip fit into their strategy? >> well, look, this trip is primarily a fund-raising trip. they are testing out, look, i think, some new speech lines. we heard it yesterday in washington state a rebuttal of sorts of some of the criticism that is coming their way to why you continue to run across bush and his new retort is, look, i'm not interested in relitigating the past, i just don't want to relive it. moving that message line across and also trying to put some democrats at ease saying, look, i know some things i'm advocating aren't popular. i can read polls and sometimes you have to do what you believe is right. that's a way to soothe the issue of the base, but, chris, this is really a fund-raising trip. if you see the president's
numbers are mediocre to slightly poor or below average with swing lo voters, then the president's best use of time is in these big cities. he's going to miami tonight, seattle yesterday and los angeles to do one thing and one thing only, continue to raise money because running these negative ad campaigns and democrats are going to have to do is going to take a lot of money. >> all right, apart from the money issue, this mosque issue, chuck, just isn't going away. if you just want to look at who's writing about it, pretty tough words from simon and o'dowd today, what are the folks there saying about this controversy that, again, just seems to be growing. >> well, what i found interesting was the white house didn't want to criticize the way the media is handling this issue. normally when something like this sort of blows up like this, the white house usually plays media critic, not so in this case. they're saying, look, we know a
lot of people have strong opinions about this. let the debate continue and let it go forth. i do think the white house believes this may be a story that is more important to the amtrak corridor, the new york/washington, sort of beltway and new york mentality thing and that ilit will punch itself out over the next few days and the rest of the country won't be talking about it as much. look, i interviewed the republican nominee out in washington state, he didn't seem to want to deal very much with the mosque issue. he basically criticized the president for talking about it. he said, look, nobody really wants to talk about this issue. he probably shouldn't have stepped into the debate and that was a republican really not interested in making a bigger deal out of the issue. >> chuck todd in columbus, thanks, chuck. let's bring in washington post political reporter and communication consultant david morry, vice president of the core strategy group. i wonder if there is a point
there, david, would you agree, that the white house take on this is really an issue, the mosque that appeals to the new york/washington, d.c. amtrak co corridor and, frankly, in the larger picture doesn't mean much. >> i think it's symbolic. the danger here is the most talented communicator and modern political history. it has a danger of being outcommunicated by his oppositi opposition. so, they have to get back to the insurgent roots that put him back in the white house in the very beginning. that makes playing some offense, particularly on tricky issues. >> i mentioned earlier a couple top columns earlier. maureen o'dowd said the president allowed himself to be weakened by hysteria and the politico's roger simon wrote this, "you have to stay on message and follow the polls, listen to your advisors who are writing the mesage and taking the polls and realize that when it comes to doing what is right
versus what is expedient, you do what is expedient so that you can get re-elected and do what is right in the second term." what do you think of this whole controversy and was the president wrong to even get involved? >> i think it's clear the president didn't follow any of roger simon's advice in terms of doing what is politically expedient. as president, he is not only speaking there to muslims and to americans, he's also speaking to the 1.5 billion muslims around the world and muslim leaders. so, i mean, he has to operate at a different level than most folks, but it's also clear that this was kind of, you know, kind of mess if that is, in fact, what it is. it's something he wanted to do. clearly wasn't listening to polls and i also think that -- >> even once he made the decision to get into this, should he have made his point and walked away as opposed to part of the criticism is, look, he shouldn't have gotten into
it, but once he did, he needed to stick to his point and make his point clearly and not come back the next day and try to nuance it. >> you're right. that is what maureen o'dowd's point was. he came across as clintorian and wiggling and seems to step back from his original point, which was very strong. one of the things here, though, in some ways he did give other people room to talk about this. you saw harry reid, of course, come out and really say that muslims have the right to put this there, but probably they shouldn't. but, again, i think that the white house is hoping that this is a slow news cycle that this is filling that void. they have, you know, privately been actually critical of the coverage of this and folks i talked to at the white house and they are essentially hoping come september they're able to go back on talking points and go back on message and start talking b talking about the economy. >> david, what should he do?
>> one, simple and clarify his message. that great communicator is important. they have to build consensus to find america and the world. he's got to play offense. turn the other networks off and drive his own game and, thirdly, use truth as propaganda. truth is the best way to rise above some of these issues. he has to complete the point on the mosque pretty quickly. he sort of made half of it and he has to complete it. look what he did with the race speech in philadelphia. he rose above the most tricky issue that we have in this country and told the truth, told it well and told it courageously. that's the kind of leadership that the american people are looking for right now. >> thanks so much. >> thank you. >> thank you. he's back. it could be another day in the brett favre media circus. favre could participate today in the minnesota vikings' practice and there is word he might officially announce his decision today about returning for a second season.
this was the seen of his arrival yesterday in minnesota. favre whisked to the local practice facility and helicopters following his every move. he was greeted by fans and team staff before going inside. one of the viking players with favre on the trip said that favre would be coming back for a second season. favre says it's not about the money, but his contract with incentives reportedly would pay him a cool $20 million for the season. lebron james isn't winning back any fans in cleveland after leaving his team for a greener pasture in miami. greener being a subjective term in my opinion, but, how about these latest comments for the cover story of the latest quish of "gq" lebron revealing he hated cleveland growing up in akron. "as a clevelanders because they were the bigger city kids when we were growing up. looked down on us. so we hated cleveland growing
pup. there's a lot of people in cleveland we still hate to this day." goes on to say wouldn't return to play for the cavaliers. whatever. prove that news bloopers don't just happen here in the states. check out this one from across the pond. >> now, we'll have the weather forecast in a minute and, of course, it will be 100% accurate and all the detail you could possibly want. preparing for it. one mistake, that was it. >> did you catch that the weatherman gives the anchor the bird and then recovers with a face scratching maneuver. ouch. it's the democratic mama grizzlies versus palin's mama grizzlies. plus, a flight attendant forced to step in after a mother slaps her child midair. you're not going to believe what happened to the baby. details in three.
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well, this one is sparking debates across the country, the story, a southwest airlines flight attendant stepped in and took a crying baby away from her parents mid-flight. she says she saw the mother slap the baby in the face. did the flight attendant do the right thing? nbc's lee cowan has the story. >> reporter: somewhere in the skies between dallas and albuquerque, the crying began. but, to one southwest flight attendant it wasn't so much the noise that was troubling her, it was what she says the baby's mother was doing to stop it. according to a police report, the flight attendant, beverly mccurly, saw the mom strike the child with an open hand on the face. that's when the flight attendant took the child from the mother and walked to the rear of the aircraft. once there the flight attendant told police that the little girl, just 13 months old, also had a black eye.
troubling enough for southwest to call ahead and have police waiting for the parents on the ground. >> the local paramedics came out and checked the child out and extensive interviews were conducted with flight crew and with the parents and with some witnesses from the plane. >> reporter: the mother, leeann sidda sidd admitted to police that she did strike her child, but didn't do anything wrong. i popped her when she kicked me, and that was it. the black eye, she explained, was from a dog bite. no charges were filed and the family was allowed to board the next flight out. >> depends on the situation. i wouldn't want any harm to my child, at the same time, i wouldn't want someone to necessarily say that my discipline style is incorrect. >> it's really hard to criminalize bad parenting. >> reporter: experts like dr. wendy lee wall says whether charges were filed or not, the southwest flight attendant probably did the right thing. >> if you're deciding whether to report or not, i always think it's better to err on the side
of what is best for the children. southwest said our flight attendant offered to hold the baby to soothe the child. at 30,000 feet taking control in the cabin is often priority number one. lee cowan, nbc news, los angeles. >> i popped her? okay. what really happened inside the room as jurors deliberated the fate of rod blagojevich? i'll talk with the jury foreman. there could be a deal in the work for lindsay lohan's first post-jail interview. [ woman ] nine iron, it's almost tee-time... time to face the pollen that used to make me sneeze... my eyes water. but now zyrtec®, the fastest 24-hour allergy relief, comes in a new liquid gel. new zyrtec® liquid gels work fast, so i can love the air®. the best time to crack it... twirl it...
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strapped them into their car seats and dumped the car into a river. check out these nasa satellite images. this is what pakistan looked like from space one year ago and then how it looks today. the red cross said international aid to pakistan is trickling. in the u.s. has sent $90 million to help. 20 million people have been uprooted. singer wyclef jean is in hiding after getting death threats. he told the ap he got a phone call saying "get out of haiti." election officials in haiti are still debating whether he can run for president there. sarah palin's mama grizzlies are under attack. check out this new ad from the pro-choice group that chooses to elect women democrats. >> sarah palin recently released a video speaking on behalf of mama grizzlies, well, sarah palin, you don't speak for us. >> but want to know what threatens me? my daughter not having the right to choose. >> my little cubs wouldn't have health care. >> you may think we're on the
wrong track because we want to protect federal funding for our schools. >> protect our right to hibernate with whoever we choose. >> but, believe me, there are plenty of mama grizzlies out there that would disagree with you. >> you're right, you don't want to mess with mama grizzlies. >> don't mess with us. >> nbc news political reporter dominico joins me now. why is this group doing this now and is there sort of a risk that gives sarah palin more publicity? >> sarah palin's group is looking to help candidates this fall and this is something they can do to raise a lot of money. they put this on their website and three-quarters of the women that now pledge to donate is now new to emily's list. it is under new leadership now and they're looking to make a splash this fall. to the point of sarah palin, you know, in the last three weeks she is only two for eight, as we point out in first read in our last few weeks of endorsements. so, you know, there's, they feel
like there's an avenue for them to make to make her a target and raise some money. >> yeah, she had started out strong, right? she had a much better record earlier and now sort of in fading in some of these later primaries? >> yeah. overall she still has a pretty good record, more than half of the people she's endorsed have gone on to win their primaries and certainly we've seen, she's a major conservative player, you know, how deep her influence is we'll see. one poll out in iowa that showed her in fourth place among candidates, but, look, she has a lot of support among conservative women and could do quite well even if she ran for president in 2012. >> thanks so much. imagine 14 days of tense deliberations trying to decide the guilt or innocence of a high-profile politician. what went on in that room and how did they come to the conclusion that former illinois governor rod blagojevich was guilty on just one count? joining me now is james
matsumoto, the jury foreman. i want to quote for starters, if i can, what rod blue fwoi vch sa said after the verdict. this was a prosecution, they threw everything they could at me. the government did not prove its case. do you agree with that statement? >> no, i do not. personally, i do think the prosecution did prove its case. >> i do know that there was a number of counts, including the one involving selling barack obama's old senate seat in which there was an 11-1 split. what was the hold out, what was the argument that was made? >> well, the argument that the woman had was that he was a politician, he was among other politicians, fund-raisers and other political appointees, but all he did was talk. he wasn't serious about any of the talk that he was involved in
and so they couldn't find him guilty because of that. >> was there a lot of frustration when you have a split that is so divided 11-1. tell me a little bit about the atmosphere in the room especially on the counts where it was a very wide split? >> well, when there's a wide split as 11-1, it is frustrating that we'd like to be unanimous and give the defendant a fair hearing and deliberate in good faith. and when you're so close and the person has a different point of view from what you may have, it is very frustrating. but the atmosphere itself was respectful in that we respected each other's opinion and their right to have them.
so, there was no coercion or confrontation or dealing and trying to keep it at a minimum. >> i also asked him what advice he would have for prosecutors as they retry the case and thee said simplify. a bidding war for lindsay lohan's first interview once the troubled star gets out of rehab. one magazine reporting to pony up $1 million to get the juicy details and that's not the only way she is expected to make money off going to jail and then rehab. kim cerefin is a senior editor for "in touch weekly." are we talking about seven figures after she goes to jail? >> yeah, that's apparently what she had been asking for. now, a business associate of lindsay's said that lindsay is already getting multi-million dollar deals as she gets out of rehab which might be sooner than
everyone thought. even though she has been in jail and rehab mark echo and now reports coming out that she could get $1 million for an interview and plus the appearance fee physical ss if s in new york, $25,000 to $100,000 maybe even $500,000 if they make an appearance in vegas. definitely money to be made for lindsay. of course, her career is something that everyone is looking at. can she make that kind of money when she returns to movies? that is what everyone is looking for. expect to see her a lot when she gets out of rehab. >> something we seen an awful lot of is snooki. she will have a hearing in new jersey for disorderly conduct. i don't think she's facing any jailtime, just a fine. does she have to be in court today? >> no, she doesn't have to be in court. her lawyer will be there for her. she is not facing jailtime. she will face a fine between
$250 to $1,000. she's a good person, she's not a criminal and she thinks she's too pretty for jail. i would agree with that. >> that is going to be my phrase of the day, kim. too pretty for jail. let's talk about three very pretty people, but on a controversial cover of "rolling stone" magazine the stars of "true blood" buck naked. we had to blur out a little bit of this and covered in blood. what is this all about? >> yeah, definitely nudity on the cover of a magazine, very provocative, but certainly nudity when you're covered with fake blood, even more provocative. look, we've definitely seen these stars from "true blood" in very provocative scenes on the show and, of course, other magazine covers that have had nudity. de demi moore, janet jackson, we've seen this before, but you expect it from the "true blood" cast. >> here's what freaks me out a little bit about this cover.
stephen moyer who plays the main vampire and he's covering her breast with his hand and they're engaged and, yet, another naked man up right next to her. i guess it's hollywood and people don't care. but you would think that might not be the most comfortable situation. you're with your fiance. >> you need someone to strategically cover her other parts. they needed that third person in there to position people carefully for the cover, i guess. >> always good to see you, thanks, kim. >> thanks. meet the pilot who narrowly cheated death moments before a fiery crash. plus, think your kids are ignoring you? turns out maybe they just can't hear you. ♪ [ male announcer ] he's sweet, even with 1/3 less sugar than soda. kool-aid delivering more smiles per gallon.
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a message for women finding it difficult to get pregnant. take a deep breath and relax. a new study finds stress might make it harder for women to conceive a child. those with the highest stress were less likely to get pregnant. doctors say stressed women can try relaxation techniques like yoga and massage therapy. can you hear me now? alarming new research finds a significant number of american teens are turning up the volume and hearing less. according to the report, one out of every five teens have lost some of their hearing, a potentially life-changing diagnosis that has gotten worse in recent years. dr. nancy snyderman is with us now. how worried should we be about this? >> there's not an antibiotic or a surgery this is early hearing
aid stuff. if you talk about one in five teenagers, this is a 35% increase in the past decade. i think the concern is for real. >> some talk of a genetic change, you're not buying that. >> i'm not buying that. here are the numbers, we're not going to extrapulate as to why. i don't think in ten years you suddenly see a genetic hit in a population. what you do see in this mp3 generation and we are really of the age that ushered this in, we see extraordinary technology. there is post mixing of songs so you can really isolate songs and instruments in your head when you're listening to steero. the headphones don't bleed, so all that sound is really going right into your ears and it's easy when you love something to just crank up the volume. if you look at how noise exposure is, we measure it in decibels. a jet engine is 120 decibels and an ipod when it's cranked is at 110 and at that level it doesn't take anything more than one minute to really cause problems. >> what should a parent do?
>> if you can hear the sound coming for your kid's headphones, it's too loud. if you're worried that your child is not doing as well in school, go in and do a hearing test. so an authority can say, look, this is the issue, you're at risk and i don't care how much you love the song, the volume can't go higher than that 50% mark. >> dr. nancy snyderman, always good to see you. >> thank you, chris. the president talking the economy in columbus. let's listen in. >> day to day, because, look, i'll be honest with you sometimes when you're in washington, you get caught up with the particular legislative battles or media spin on certain issues and sometimes you lose touch in terms of what folks are talking about around the kitchen table. one of the ways that i stay in touch is through events like this, as well as reading letters from constituents and voters all across the country every night. and, obviously, what's on a lot
of people's minds right now is the economy. look, we went through the worst recession that we've had since the great depression. and when i was sworn in about 18 months ago, we had already lost several million jobs and we were about to lose several million more. we lost 800,000 jobs the month i was sworn in. and so we had to act fast and take some emergency steps to prevent the economy from going back into what could have been a great depression. and we were successful in doing so. we stabilized the economy, we stabilized the financial system and we didn't have a complete meltdown and where we were losing jobs in the private sector when i was first sworn in we're now gaining jobs and we gained jobs seven consecutive months in the private sector. the economy was shrinking about 6%. the economy is now growing.
so, we've made progress, but let's face it, the progress hasn't been fast enough. and john, raupd rhonda and i wet talking about the challenges they had to go through when rhonda got laid off and, by the way, also lost her health insurance in the process at a time when her son was going through some significant medical needs. so, in addition to trying to stop the crisis, what we also want to do is make sure that we were helping people get back on their feet. so, something that i'm very pleased with, this is that rhonda was able to use the provisions that we passed to help her get cobra so that she had health insurance could keep her health insurance at a time when the family was very much in need. and millions of people across the country have been able to keep their health insurance. we've also been trying to help our state and local governments so that they're not having to
lay off as many teachers and firefighters and police officer and i know that the mayor and the governor would acknowledge that the help we provided them has really helped to plug some big budget holes. and in addition, what we've been trying to do is build infrastructure that puts people back to work and also improves the quality of life in communities like columbus. so, joe is an architect and he's now working on a new police station that was funded in part with recovery act funds. all these things have made a difference. but, we still have a long way to go and, so, a couple things that we're focused on right now is, number one, making sure that small businesses are getting help because small businesses like joe's architectural furl
are re are the key to our economy. they create two out of three jobs. we want to make sure they're getting financing and we want to make sure they are cutting their taxes in certain key areas and one thing we've done, for example, propose that we cut capital gains taxes on small businesses so that when they're starting up and they don't have a lot of cash flow that is one time they should get a break and get some help. we're focusing, as well, on frying to figufr trying to figure out should we build infrastructure that puts the country back to work. not only building roads and bridges but building things like high-speed rail or building broadbound lines that can connect communities and give people access to the internet at a time when it's going to be critical in terms of long-term economic development. we're also going to have to look at how do we, over the long term, get control of our deficit and that's, obviously, something
that a lot of people have on their mind. the key is to make sure that we do so in way that doesn't impede recovery, but rather gives people confidence over the medimea median and long term. i'll talk about what we're doing in terms of spending. but overall the main message that i want to deliver before i start taking questions and i said this to joe and rhonda, is slowly but surely we are moving in the right direction. we're on the right track. the economy is getting stronger, but it really suffered a big trauma. wur we're not going to get all 8 million jobs that were lost back over night. it is going to take some time. businesses are still trying to get more confident out there before they start hiring and people, consumers, are not going to start spending until they feel a little more confident that the economy is getting stronger. so, what we're trying to do is
create sort of a virtuous cycle where people start feeling better and better about the economy and a lot of it is sort of like recovering from an illness. you get stronger each day and you take a few more steps each day and that's where our economy is at right now. what we can't afford to do is to start going backwards. and doing some of the same things that got us into trouble in the first place. this is why it's been so important for us to, for example, to pass something like wall street reform, to make sure that we're not creating the same kind of financial bubbles and the massive leverage and the reckless risks that help to create this problem in the first place. and i am very proud that we've got somebody like a sheriff brown or a mary jo who worked really tirelessly with us in congress to make sure that we don't have a situation where we've got to bail out banks that have taken reckless risks that we are monitoring what's
happening in the financial system a lot more carefully. that making sure people aren't cheated when it comes to their mortgages or that there are a birch of hidden fees in their credit cards that help to create some of the problems that we've seen in the financial systems. you know, we can't go back to doing things the way we were doing them before. we've got to go forward. that's what we're trying to do. and hopefully as we continue over the next several months and the next several years, we're going to see a columbus and an ohio and a united states of america that is going to be stronger than it was before this crisis struck. i am absolutely confident of that, but we got more work to do. all right, so, with that, what i want to do, i just want to open it up and you guys can ask me questions -- >> this is not your typical backyard gathering in the backyard of joe and rhonda whiteman in columbus, they have gotten some of their friends
together, about 40 people. the president says he wants to keep in touch with regular, middle class americans and now he'll take questions from the folks who are just sitting in joe and rhonda's backyard. we'll listen in as the president hears from these local neighbors about what their concerns are. >> these folks behind you can hear you. this gentleman right here. >> hi, president obama. i hope i don't pass out while i'm asking this question. so, my question is actually about health care. my brother is disabled. he is definitely what i would consider one of the working poor. he will not mature any more as far as mindset of a 12-year-old. right now he works, you know, washing dishes at a local restaurant and, unfortunately, because the employer does not offer health care insurance, one
whole check, which is two weeks worth of work has to actually go towards, you know, him just paying for cobra, which is, obviously, well out of his budget but he has to because of the various illnesses he suffers from. my question is, unfortunately, i'm not able to sit down and read a 2,000-page bill or a law or with all the reform that happened with health care with the present reforms that went into place, how will that help him? and if it doesn't, then how will, i know that you're not done with health care, how will your, you know, the latest changes that you want to happen with health care, how will that hap help him? thank you for doing such a wonderful job. >> thank you. you know, here's how specifically health reform should help your brother. number one, it gives an incentive to his employer to provide health insurance because one of the key components of
health care reform was providing employers a 35% tax break on the premiums they pay for their employees. so, basically, it's cutting his potential costs, the employer's potential costs for providing your brother with health insurance. it's cutting it by a third. that's step number one. there are going to be companies out there that say, you know what, we want to provide health insurance, but we just couldn't afford to do it. now that it's costing us up to a third less, saving us thousands of dollars, maybe we should kgo ahead and provide coverage for that. that is step number one. step number two, if the employer still doesn't provide coverage, over the next couple of years your brother is going to be able to join a pool, what we're calling an exchange where he can basically buy the same kind of insurance that these members of congress are buying. and the advantage that he's going to have is that now he's
part of a pool of millions of people who are buying it all at the same time. which means they have leverage the same way big companies are able to lower their costs per employee because the insurance company really wants their business. well, now, your brother could be part of the same pool that these guys are and that's going to give leverage, which will lower his rates. and the final part of it is, if even with these lower rates this better deal, he still can't afford it, then we're going to provide some subsidies to help him. so, all of those things combined should help make sure that your brother is getting health insurance. now, one of the things that i think people may not be aware of is that although this exchange isn't going to be set up until 2014 because it takes a while, we have to set it up right. there are some immediate things that are helping right now. if your child has a